West Norfolk make a winning start

Head coach Dave Clarke heaped praise on his West Norfolk players as the club started the league season with a hard-fought 34-21 victory at newly-promoted North Walsham 2nds.

Visiting West Norfolk set the platform for victory by dominating all areas of the pitch in the early stages.

Clarke said: “This was a great start to the season. In the first half, our structure and tempo were excellent and our attacking play was outstanding, despite losing fly-half Jack Trundley early in the first quarter.

Jack Wicks celebrates one of his three tries. Picture: Roz Bridges.
Jack Wicks celebrates one of his three tries. Picture: Roz Bridges.

“In the second half. our defence kept Walsham at bay for long periods as they increased their intensity.

“All of our players put in a massive effort to the final whistle despite some carrying injuries and we thoroughly deserved our win.”

Will Allen started in the front row alongside Costa and Newton-Walters, whilst club stalwart Sam Moses began the game at full-back.

James Dobbler went over for an early try, converted by Jack Trundley, but this was be the last action for Trundley who limped off with a hamstring injury.

A reshuffle of the backline saw captain Jack Wicks move to fly-half.

The visitors gave away two penalties in quick succession, both being kicked well by the Walsham fly-half.

West’s lineout operated well under the leadership of JJ Hart and, with Newton-Walters throwing arrows that Michael Van Gerwen would be proud of, West soon regained the momentum.

JJ Hart reaches for the ball at the lineout. Picture: Roz Bridges
JJ Hart reaches for the ball at the lineout. Picture: Roz Bridges

Dobbler made in-roads into the Raiders’ defence, supported by centre Henry Hoyles, before the backs swung the ball wide only to be held up over the line.

West captain Wicks delivered a skillful masterclass with a quick hat-trick of tries.

His first came after a move involving Sam Landles and Lewis Rudd, before excellent running lines from Rudd, Dobbler and Hayden Revell allowed Wicks to add two more scores.

Wicks converted all three to hand West a commanding 28-6 lead before the hosts went over for their first try of the afternoon going into the interval.

With coaches Clarke and Shirley asking West to improve their discipline at the breakdown, West Norfolk’s aim was to put the hosts to the sword early to negate any chance of a comeback.

Joe Lewis-Mitchell forced a penalty which Wicks duly knocked over for three more points.

West Norfolk in defence. Picture: Roz Bridges
West Norfolk in defence. Picture: Roz Bridges

West would this time be on the receiving end of the referee’s whistle receiving a yellow card for a high tackle.

With a man down, Walsham seized their opportunity by scoring in the corner.

Despite the reliable boot of Wicks adding a further penalty, it was the hosts who finished the game on a high.

In a similar fashion to their previous try and, using their one-man overlap, the Raiders winger ran in unchallenged to score in the corner.

Adrian Flux man-of-the-match: James Dobbler.